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(sometimes US), demagog
1. a political agitator who appeals with crude oratory to the prejudice and passions of the mob
2. (esp in the ancient world) any popular political leader or orator
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



in ancient Greece, particularly in Athens of classical times, a term initially used for politicians of a democratic leaning (Themistocles and Pericles, for example). Gradually the term began to acquire a pejorative connotation among opponents of democracy. It came to refer to activists who sought to earn popularity through false promises, flattery at popular assemblies, and the like. The term has been preserved with this meaning in modern political terminology.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
After listening to the demagogues for more than half a century, in the current phase of the Cyprus problem, every disastrous outcome appears possible, unless the president decides to get his act together.
That is when people start relying on demagogues. That is how fascist trends have established roots in many parts of the world.
The demagogue thrives on dichotomies: the 'us' versus 'they' syndrome.
In other words, centrist politicians who want to steal the demagogues' thunder have to tread a very narrow path.
This wholly blameless victim of virulent and widespread prejudice had to be sacrificed to appease the rage of all those who had been persuaded by demagogues to believe that Jews were traitors.
Years have passed, but I remain very skeptical of religious demagogues in our time who use a mixture of religious and political rhetoric to justify their claims for financial or political advancement.
Regal (American history, history of science and technology, TCI College of Technology) chronicles the history of radio as technology and as media, from the invention of vacuum tubes and microchips through the visionary mystics and power hungry demagogues who strove to make radio what they thought it should be.
When progressives are afraid to mount a principled defense of sexual justice on behalf of those who need it most, we cede the stage to rightwing demagogues like Santorum who exploit notions of family and marriage to advance their intolerant agendas.
Early on, Frank presents Kansas as a "freak state" crawling with "religious fanatics, crackpot demagogues, and alarming hybrids of the two," beginning with the violent 19th abolitionist, John Brown.
1957, which portray the general behind the coup d'etat of 1953 and the pro-Fascist politician whom he overthrew, she paints demagogues with bodies of frogs and reptiles.
So, too, is the often-destructive role played by the United States, which, as lie documents, propped up the worst of these dictators and demagogues, then often stood by as their nations disintegrated around them.
In the early 1990s the rallying cry of conservative xenophobe demagogues, mostly from the Republican Party, was the financial burden posed to taxpayers by illegal aliens who drained public coffers by receiving social services such as welfare or the benefits of a free education.